And he has violently taken away his tabernacle, as if it were of a garden: he has destroyed his places of the assembly: the LORD has caused the solemn feasts and sabbaths to be forgotten in Zion, and has despised in the indignation of his anger the king and the priest.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)He hath violently taken away his tabernacle . . .—The noun represents a “booth” or “shed,” like those erected in the Feast of Tabernacles. Jehovah is represented as laying waste that “tabernacle,” i.e., His own temple, as a man might remove a temporary shed from an orchard or garden.
His places of the assembly.—The noun is the same as that rendered “solemn feasts” in the next clause. The destruction involved the non-observance of all such feasts, as well as of the sabbath. “King and priest,” the two representatives of the nation’s life (Jeremiah 33:21), were alike, as it seemed, rejected.Lamentations 2:6-7. He hath violently taken away his tabernacle as of a garden — The Vulgate reads, dissipavit, quasi hortum, tentorium suum; he hath dissolved, broke in pieces, scattered, or laid waste, his tent as a garden. Thus also Houbigant: that is, he hath destroyed the temple, the place of his residence, and of our religious assemblies, as if it had been no better than a tent or cottage set up in a garden, or vineyard, just while the fruit was gathering, and then to be taken down again. This interpretation of the original text, which is, יחמס כגן שׂכו, supposes שׂכו to be written for סכו words exactly alike in sound, though not always in sense, and frequently put the one for the other. But, as the former, from שׂוךְ, to hedge, originally signifies his hedge, many think the most proper rendering of the Hebrew, and the true sense of the passage is, as in the margin, He hath taken away his hedge as of a garden; that is, he hath withdrawn his protection, and left us exposed to the mercy of our enemies. He hath destroyed his places of the assembly — This translation, as also that of the Vulgate, understands this as a repetition of the former clause; but, as sixty MSS. and one edition, instead of מעדו, read מועדו at large, Blaney takes the congregation of Jehovah to be intended, rather than the place of their assembly, and renders the words, He hath destroyed his congregation, namely, the people of Israel, the vineyard, which he had heretofore kept under his special protection. The Lord hath caused the solemn feasts, &c., to be forgotten — Or rather, as שׁכח is more properly rendered, hath forgotten the solemn feasts, &c., that is, “holds those services no longer in esteem, but slights and disregards them:” compare Isaiah 1:14-15. And hath despised the king and the priest — Hath shown no regard for either of those honourable offices, but hath suffered the kingdom to be destroyed, and the temple to be laid waste. He hath abhorred his sanctuary — It had been defiled with sin, that only thing which he hates, and for the sake of that he hath abhorred it, though he had formerly delighted in, and called it his rest for ever, Psalm 132:14. They have made a noise in the house of the Lord, &c. — “Instead of the joyful sound of praises and thanksgivings to God, such as used to be solemnly performed in the temple at the public festivals, there was nothing to be heard there but the noise of soldiers, and the rudeness of infidels, profaning that sacred place, and insulting the true God, who was worshipped there: compare Psalm 74:4.” — Lowth.Jeremiah 25:38, i. e. such a tent of boughs as was put up at the Feast of Tabernacles. The words mean, "the Lord hath (as) violently destroyed His booth. as a man might tear down a shed in "a garden."" Compare Isaiah 1:8.
His places of the assembly - Or, "His great festivals" (Lamentations 1:15 note). It is the Word rendered "solemn feasts" in the next clause, and rightly joined there with "sabbaths," the weekly, as the other were the annual festivals. It is no longer אדני 'ădonāy, but the Lord (Yahweh) who lets them pass into oblivion. He had once instituted them for His own honor, now He lets them lie forgotten.
Hath despised ... - Or, "hath rejected" king and priest. With the destruction of the city the royal authority fell: with the ruined temple and the cessation of the festivals the functions of the priest ceased.
places of … assembly—the temple and synagogues (Ps 74:7, 8).
solemn feasts—(La 1:4).
tabernacle (say some) signifies a hedge or fence, and they would have it here so translated, and so the phrase should denote God’s withdrawing his protection from the Jews; but it is no where so translated. It is another word used Psalm 80:12 89:40. The most judicious interpreters think that the word here signifieth the temple, and the rather because of what followeth. By the
places of the assembly may be understood the synagogues. By
the king and the priest are meant persons of greatest rank and eminency, though it is thought here is a special reference to Zedekiah the king of Judah, and Seraiah who was the high priest, the former of which was miserably handled, the latter slain. Isaiah 1:8;
he hath destroyed his places in the assembly; the courts where the people used to assemble for worship in the temple; or the synagogues in Jerusalem, and other parts of the land:
the Lord hath caused the solemn feasts and sabbaths to be forgotten in Zion; there being neither places to keep them in, nor people to observe them:
and hath despised, in the indignation of his anger, the king and the priest; whose persons and offices were sacred, and ought to be treated by men with honour and respect; but, for the sins of both, the Lord despised them himself, and made them the object of his wrath and indignation, and suffered them to be despised and ill used by others, by the Chaldeans; Zedekiah had his children slain before his eyes, and then they were put out, and he was carried in chains to Babylon, and there detained a captive all his days; and Seraiah the chief priest, or, as the Targum here has it, the high priest, was put to death by the king of Babylon; though not only the persons of the king and priest are meant, but their offices also; the kingdom and priesthood ceased from being exercised for many years.And he hath violently taken away his tabernacle, as if it were of a garden: he hath destroyed his places of the assembly: the LORD hath caused the solemn feasts and sabbaths to be forgotten in Zion, and hath despised in the indignation of his anger the king and the priest.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)6. And he hath violently … of a garden] The expression is obscure. The natural sense of the Eng. would be that He has taken away His tabernacle (the Temple) out of Jerusalem as unconcernedly as a pleasure booth might be removed from a garden (cp. Job 27:18). But as a garden is a better rendering of the Heb., and so we get the thought that the Temple was destroyed and broken up with as much ease as a garden that had failed to please its owner. The fact that the LXX has as a vine (Heb. gephen) while the Heb. as it stands has gan, a garden, has led to the conjecture (so de Hoop Scheffer) that gannab, a thief, was the original reading. On this hypothesis the MT. might easily have been altered, if considered as an indecorous comparison, into one of the other two words. If we accept Scheffer’s view we must understand that Jehovah has broken through the hedge (see mg.) which protected Zion, as a thief would make his way through a hedge in order to steal property which it protected. Secrecy rather than violence, however, is what we associate with theft (cp. Jeremiah 49:9), and so far the comparison is inappropriate.
place of assembly] The same word in the Heb. as that which is immediately afterwards rendered solemn assembly (mg. appointed feast) which is its usual sense, although the former one occurs Psalm 64:8. The occurrence of the same word in somewhat different senses in two consecutive clauses is suspicious, but no very satisfactory emendation has been suggested.
the king] associated here with the priest by virtue of his theocratic character. Cp. Lamentations 4:20.Verse 6. - Violently taken away; rather, violently treated; i.e. broken up. His tabarnacle; rather, his booth. "Tent" and "dwelling" are interchangeable expressions (see ver. 4); and in the Psalms "booth" is used as a special poetic synonym for tent when God's earthly dwelling place, the sanctuary of the temple, is spoken of (so Psalm 27:5; Psalm 31:20; Psalm 76:2). The Authorized Version, indeed, presumes an allusion to the proper meaning of the Hebrew word, as if the poet compared the sanctuary of Jehovah to a pleasure booth in a garden. It is, however, more natural to continue, as a garden, the sense of which will be clear from Psalm 80:12, 13. The Septuagint has, instead, "as a vine" - a reading which differs from the Massoretic by having one letter more (kaggefen instead of kaggan). This ancient reading is adopted by Ewald, and harmonizes well with Isaiah 5:1, etc.; Jeremiah 2:21 (comp. Psalm 80:8); but the received text gives a very good sense. "Garden" in the Bible means, of course, a plantation of trees rather than a flower garden. His places of the assembly; rather, his place of meeting (with God). The word occurs in the same sense in Psalm 74:3. It is the temple which is meant, and the term is borrowed from the famous phrase, ohel mo'edh (Exodus 27:21; comp. 25:22). Lamentations 2:11, where the clause before us is repeated, and in Job 16:16, where it is used of the countenance, and can only mean to be glowing red; it is scarcely legitimate to derive it from חמר, Arab. h[mr, to be made red, and must rather be referred to Arab. chmr, to ferment, rise into froth; for even in Psalm 55:9 חמר does not mean to be red, but to rise into froth. מעים, "bowels," are the nobler portions of the internal organs of the body, the seat of the affections; cf. Delitzsch's Biblical Psychology (Clark's translation), p. 314ff. "My heart has turned within me" is an expression used in Hosea 11:8 to designate the feeling of compassion; but here it indicates the most severe internal pain, which becomes thus agonizing through the consciousness of its being deserved on account of resistance to God. מרו for מרה, like בּכו ekil, Jeremiah 22:10; Jeremiah 30:19, etc. Both forms occur together in other verbs also; cf. Olshausen, Gram. 245, h [Ewald, 238, e; Gesen., 75, Rem. 2]. But the judgment also is fearful; for "without (מחוּץ, foris, i.e., in the streets and the open country) the sword renders childless," through the slaughter of the troops; "within (בּבּית, in the houses) כּמּות, like death." It is difficult to account for the use of כּ; for neither the כ of comparison nor the so-called כveritatis affords a suitable meaning; and the transposition of the words into sicut mors intus (Rosenmller, after Lצwe and Wolfsohn) is an arbitrary change. Death, mentioned in connection with the sword, does not mean death in general, but special forms of death through maladies and plagues, as in Jeremiah 15:2; Jeremiah 18:21, not merely the fever of hunger, Jeremiah 14:18; on the other hand, cf. Ezekiel 7:15, "the sword without, pestilence and hunger within." But the difficulty connected with כּמּות is not thereby removed. The verb שׁכּל belongs to both clauses; but "the sword" cannot also be the subject of the second clause, of which the nominative must be כּמּות, "all that is like death," i.e., everything besides the sword that kills, all other causes of death, - pestilences, famine, etc. כּ is used as in כּמראה, Daniel 10:18. That this is the meaning is shown by a comparison of the present passage with Deuteronomy 32:25, which must have been before the writer's mind, so that he took the words of the first clause, viz., "without, the sword bereaves," almost as they stood, but changed וּמחדרים into בּבּית כּמּות, - thus preferring "what is like death," instead of "terror," to describe the cause of destruction. Calvin long ago hit the sense in his paraphrase multae mortes, and the accompanying explanation: utitur nota similitudinis, quasi diceret: nihil domi occurrere nisi mortale (more correctly mortiferum). Much light is thrown on the expression by the parallel adduced by Kalkschmidt from Aeneid, ii. 368, 369: crudelis ubique Luctus, ubique pavor, et plurima mortis imago.
From speaking of friends, a transition is made in Lamentations 1:21 to enemies. Regarding the explanation of Rosenmller, audiverunt quidem amici mei, a me implorati Lamentations 1:19, quod gemens ego...imo sunt omnes hostes mei, Thenius observes that it introduces too much. This remark is still more applicable to his own interpretation: "People (certainly) hear how I sigh, (yet) I have no comforter." The antithesis introduced by the insertion of "yet" destroys the simplicity of arrangement among the clauses, although C. B. Michaelis and Gerlach also explain the passage in the same manner. The subject of the words, "they have heard," in the first clause, is not the friends who are said in Lamentations 1:19 to have been called upon for help, nor those designated in the second clause of Lamentations 1:21 as "all mine enemies," but persons unnamed, who are only characterized in the second clause as enemies, because they rejoice over the calamity which they have heard of as having befallen Jerusalem. The first clause forms the medium of transition from the faithless friends (Lamentations 1:19) to the open enemies (Lamentations 1:21); hence the subject is left undefined, so that one may think of friends and enemies. The foes rejoice that God has brought the evil on her. The words 'הבאת וגו, which follow, cannot also be dependent on כּי ("that Thou hast brought the day which Thou hast announced"), inasmuch as the last clause, "and they shall be like me," does not harmonize with them. Indeed, Ngelsbach and Gerlach, who assume that this is the connection of the clause "Thou hast brought," etc., take 'ויהיוּ כ adversatively: "but they shall be like me." If, however, "they shall be," etc., were intended to form an antithesis to "all mine enemies have heard," etc., the former clause would be introduced by והם. The mere change of tense is insufficient to prove the point. It must further be borne in mind, that in such a case there would be introduced by the words "and they shall be," etc., a new series of ideas, the second great division of the prayer; but this is opposed by the arrangement of the clauses. The second portion of the prayer cannot be attached to the end of the verse. The new series of thoughts begins rather with "Thou hast brought," which the Syriac has rendered by the imperative, venire fac. Similarly Luther translates: "then (therefore) let the day come." C. B. Michaelis, Rosenmller, Pareau, etc., also take the words optatively, referring to the Arabic idiom, according to which a wish is expressed in a vivid manner by the perfect. This optative use of the perfect certainly cannot be shown to exist in the Hebrew; but perhaps it may be employed to mark what is viewed as certain to follow, in which case the Germans use the present. The use of the perfect shows that the occurrence expected is regarded as so certain to happen, that it is represented as if it had already taken place. The perfects in Lamentations 3:56-61 are taken in this sense by nearly all expositors. Similarly we take the clause now before us to mean, "Thou bringest on the day which Thou hast proclaimed (announced)," i.e., the day of judgment on the nations, Jeremiah 25, "so that they become like me," i.e., so that the foes who rejoice over my misfortune suffer the same fate as myself. "The day [which] Thou hast proclaimed" has been to specifically rendered in the Vulgate, adduxisti diem consolationis, probably with a reference of the proclamation to Isaiah 40:2. - After this expression of certainty regarding the coming of a day of punishment for her enemies, there follows, Lamentations 1:22, the request that all the evil they have done to Jerusalem may come before the face of God, in order that He may punish it (cf. Psalm 109:15 with Lamentations 1:14), - do to them as He has done to Jerusalem, because of her transgressions. The clause which assigns the reason ("for many are my sighs," etc.) does not refer to that which immediately precedes; for neither the request that retribution should be taken, nor the confession of guilt ("for all my transgressions"), can be accounted fore by pointing to the deep misery of Jerusalem, inasmuch as her sighing and sickness are not brought on her by her enemies, but are the result of the sufferings ordained by God regarding her. The words contain the ground of the request that God would look on the misery (Lamentations 1:20), and show to the wretched one the compassion which men refuse her. לבּי is exactly the same expression as that in Jeremiah 8:18; cf. also Isaiah 1:5. The reason thus given for making the entreaty forms an abrupt termination, and with these words the sound of lamentation dies away.
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